Keeping TV sets on for non-subsidised viewers

Friday, July 13, 2018

By Mish Molakeng

The Department of Communications has met with the local television manufacturing industry on the mass production of Integrated Digital Television sets (IDTV) for the local retail market. 

This comes as the department -- which is the lead for digital migration -- has accelerated the rollout of broadcasting digital migration (BDM) in the country.

The department wants to ensure that the non- subsidized market, currently on analogue, has options available as the country migrates to the digital platform. 

An ITDV set has a built-in digital tuner and does not need a set-top box (STB) to receive a digital signal. Most of the latest smart TV or connected TV sets with an Internet/Wi-Fi connection already have IDTV capabilities. 

“Today’s meeting was the first of many meetings to come as we seek to ensure that products for digital migration become readily available in the retail market. 

“What we have been missing in the value chain for migration from analogue to digital has been products for the retail market,” said Aldred Dreyer, head of the department’s BDM project management office. 

The meeting was also attended by other organs of government, including the Department of Trade and Industry.   

The Department of Communications is encouraging television-viewing households, who are looking to buy new television units, to buy sets that come with an integrated digital tuner.  

“People who do not qualify for the fully-subsidised STBs -- in other words, those who earn above the stipulated threshold of R3 200 per month -- have an option  of buying  a new integrated  digital  television  set  with the  DTT  decoder built-in and  migrate  with us.

“Households that are on pay television platforms need not worry as they are already on a digital platform,” said Dreyer.

Digital migration progress

The rollout of the BDM project continues with a focused approach. The department’s target is to complete the rollout in the Free State province by the end of 2018.

Officials from the BDM project office will visit various districts in the North West and Free State province to register and install government subsidised decoders to qualifying households in the coming weeks.

The average registration for STBs per day in the Free State province is currently sitting at 600, while an average of 1 000 decoders are installed daily.

Acting Director General for the Department of Communications, Dr Mashilo Boloka, encouraged the electronic manufactures to participate in the workstreams of the newly appointed Broadcasting Digital Migration Advisory Council. 

Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane appointed the council in accordance with the BDM Policy. –